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An un-Trumped view of the world, its contemporary problems and their solutions

Saturday, December 24th, 2016

Written by Ikram

An ‘un-Trumped’ View of the World, its Contemporary Problems and their Solutions

A Discussion In Light of the Quran

Today is 25th of December which is also the day celebrated by about half of the world population as Christmas. We, the Muslims, wish them a Merry Christmas. We stand in solidarity with Christians in the message of peace which Jesus Christ symbolizes, Quran emphasizes, Prophet Muhammad epitomizes and Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad simplifies. We stand with Christians and pray to the same God that Jesus Christ cried out to on the cross while suffering in pain, as the world today, as a whole, is traumatized and suffering, in the similar spiritual and physical pain, at the hands of tyrants and ignorant. It is to this solidarity and common ground that Quran refers to and states – Say, `Do you dispute with us with regard to Allâh, while He is our Lord and your Lord (as well). We shall be judged by our deeds, and you by your deeds, and to Him alone are we sincerely devoted (2:139 – Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Nooruddin). Additionally, we believe in the same God that Moses spoke to on Mount Sinai, Buddha got enlightenment from and Krishna sang to. Islam has the unique distinction to accept and validate other religions and Quran repeatedly emphasizes it – Surely, those who (profess to) believe (in Islam), and those who follow the Jewish faith, the Christians and the Sabians, whosoever (of these truly) believes in Allâh and the Last Day and acts righteously shall have their reward with their Lord, and shall have nothing to fear, nor shall they grieve (2:62. Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Nooruddin ).

The world is changing before our eyes. Local issues are becoming global and the global changes range across technological progress, material growth, economic disparities, ideological developments and political realignments. In turn, these issues are mutually intertwined into a Gordonian knot, which seems to be tightening with every effort to untangle it. Hope is giving way to despair, and despair is finding hope in drum beats of war and resurrection of the monster of bigotry, racism, misogyny and class divide, at least in the United States, if not globally.

Before it were the Crusades, and then came the Colonial wars. Recently it was the Cold War and that gave way to Clash of Civilizations under President Bush, which is now deteriorating into Religious War. We see the glaring example of religious conflict brewing in the response of president-elect Trump to the terror-attack of a truck overrunning a Christmas market in Berlin and murder of Russian Ambassador in Turkey, when team Trump termed the terror incidents as conflict of Muslims against Christians.1

No single science, be it physical, economic, social or psychological science, or any combination thereof can solve this myriad of chaos that the world is facing for the simple reason that the experts in each field are practitioners of their own fields only and they too are experimenting with hypotheses. The trader on Wall Street has not the slightest ideas of the struggles of the farmer facing the global warming, the physicist in a lab does not know about the challenges the social services are facing in single parent homes, and a psychologist might be confounded with the issue he or she is facing as to whether it is presence of mental illness or lack of mental health.

Despite the advancement in various fields of knowledge, why are the problems and uncertainties increasing and not decreasing? Answer is simple in the words of the Quran – And He raised the heaven high and set up the (law of) harmony and balance. (He explains this to you) that you should not violate the (law of) harmony and balance. Hold balance with justice (giving everyone his due avoiding extremes). Do not disturb the (law of) harmony in the least. And He has set the earth for (the common good of) all (His) creatures (55:7-10, Al-Rahman – The Most Gracious: Nooruddin). Simply put, we as individuals and nations have disturbed the laws of harmony and balance in our selfish desires, hedonistic tendencies and national interests while turning blind eye to a balanced accommodation of others, in which the term ‘me’ supersedes ‘we’ and ‘we’ over ‘them.’ The balance of wealth has been disturbed in which according to Oxfam, only 85 individuals have the same wealth as the combined assets of 3.5 billion people of the earth.2 Balance of justice and equity in Middle East and Kashmir has been disturbed for over 60 years and those lands have yet to breathe peace. Balance of compensation for labor is 60 fold more in the West over the underdeveloped world,3 while the calories burnt in human muscles are the same for the same job. Now the North Pole has started to melt in the winter rather than summer.4 These are only a few examples of a disturbed balance at the hands of humankind, yet some of us are still deniers of these facts.

Despite history repeating itself in history and in the present, why do we keep repeating the same mistakes? The reason is probably embedded in our DNA or imprinted in the simple pin-head sized reward center of our brains which compels us to keep pecking the rewards till we are consumed by the reward itself. Quran simplifies this dilemma for us in Surah Al-Takathur which I quote in toto with embedded explanatory comments – (Oh People! your) vying with one another to excel in multiplying worldly possessions diverts you (from God and true values of life). Until (on your death) you embrace the graves. Nay, (you should never hanker after worldly gains, power and position,) you shall come to know in time (that you have been chasing at a shadow). Nay, again (We repeat, never should you misuse your life of probation,) you shall come to know (the consequences of it) in time. No, never! if you only knew the consequences thereof with sure and certain knowledge . You will certainly see the very hell-fire (in this present life by seeing the sad fate of the wicked). Again, you shall most certainly see it (in the Hereafter) with the eye of certainty. And then on that day (of Reckoning) you shall be called to account for the favours (bestowed upon you) (102.1-8. Al-Takathur – The Vying With One Another: Nooruddin).

The obvious question then arises, as to where is the solution to it all? Again, Quran makes that claim of providing a solution when it states – O people! there has come to you an exhortation (to do away with your weaknesses) from your Lord and a cure for whatever (disease) is in your hearts, and (a Book full of) excellent guidance and a mercy, (and full of blessings) to the believers (in the ultimate form of the Qur'ân). Say, `All this (revelation of the Qur'ân) is through the grace of Allâh and His mercy. In this, therefore, let them rejoice, (because) this (Qur'ân) is better than all that they hoard.' (10:57-58. Yunus – Jonah: Nooruddin).

This last verse that I quoted from Surah Yunus, I requote – Say, `All this (revelation of the Qur'ân) is through the grace of Allâh and His mercy. In this, therefore, let them rejoice, (because) this (Qur'ân) is better than all that they hoard.' This one verse throws open challenge to all the theorists in history and those amongst us. They can bring forth whatever solution they may. If the fundamentals of their theories are congruent to Quran, then their works can act as exegesis of Quran, else their destiny will be in the dustbins of history. Human mind is quite apt at creating and forwarding isms, 234 isms so far5, and still counting, and no solution yet in sight. Not one ism has been able to withstand the test of times, by that I mean various theological isms and others such as colonialism, communism, and socialism, Nazism, Fascism, Zionism and Atheism etc. Capitalism in its current form is only surviving a little longer. For example, if the founders of Communism had paid heed to three simple verses in Quran – And that a human being will have (to his account) what he strives for. And that his strivings shall necessarily be seen (and evaluated), Then will he be recompensed fully and fairly (53:39-41. Al-Najam – Parts of the Quran: Nooruddin), they could have realized that they could not set up a system in which individual were to be recompensed without striving on their part and those who did strive were neither adequately recompensed nor their efforts necessarily were seen by others. Theirs was a system that was bound to fail as it was against human nature that is identified in Quran. Similarly, Capitalism in its current form is bound to fail too as it is defying another law laid out in Quran – (It has been) so (ordained) that the (wealth) should not circulate (only) among your rich people (59.7. Al-Hashr – The Banishment: Nooruddin). Oxfam report points to this impending failure as “the wealth of the one percent richest people in the world amounts to $110 trillion. That’s 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the world’s population.”

Quran in its solution simplifies the needs of each person and that simplicity naturally then flows into the societal fabric. Message of Quran touches each individual and cuts at the root and eliminates from the minds any vestige of racism, gender discrimination, class divide, economic disparity, injustice and inequity. It supplements these fundamentals by a policy framework in which it puts education first. It mandates – Read in the name of your Lord Who creates, creates man from a clot (of blood), read and your Lord is most Generous, Who taught by the pen, taught man what he did not know (96:1-5. Al-Alaq – The Clot: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz). If we re-read one of these verses – read and your Lord is most Generous, we see a fundamental law in this declaration. The more one reads, the more generosity of God pours on that person and the society. No wonder, the West took a lead by reading more. East is gradually catching up, not by wearing jeans or eating hamburgers and French fries, but by reading, which is obvious in the explosion of number of universities in China, Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, and India etc. We might one day discover and harness antigravity, a theoretical impossibility, but we will never be able to disprove the fundamental law in Quran i.e. read and your Lord is most Generous. This law will prevail on the earth or any other future planet we inhabit. Little did the votaries in the United States pay attention to Bernie Sanders in 2016 primaries, whose pivotal mandate was to make college education free for all its citizens. Those left behind in United States would have caught up with the rest in one generation, but they chose sound bites over fundamental moral laws and voted for trumpets and trumpeters making noise as if the life was merely a big ball game. In time, all such games end, the coliseum in Rome is only a testament to that – We have destroyed so many townships because (the people thereof) were given to wicked ways so that they have fallen down on their roofs, and how many a well is completely deserted: (similarly) many a strongly built lofty castles (met the same doom because We destroyed their occupants). Why do they not travel in the land so that they should have hearts that help them to understand and ears which can help them hear? As a matter of fact (when going astray) it is not the (physical) eyes that are blind but blind are the hearts which lie in the bosoms (22:26-27. Al-Hajj – The Pilgrimage: Nooruddin).

So far, we have touched upon secular aspects of Quran in furtherance of a good society. But, Quran does not stop at that. It takes into account the human development. As the body grows from conception to birth and onward, it reaches its physical zenith after which is begins its decline. On the other hand, the mind and soul continue to mature; eventually crossing the threshold where the human “spirit” transgresses physical needs and aspires for moral gratification. For its nurturance, as Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad states, the human spirit then seeks morality, chastity, honesty, humility, politeness, forgiveness, goodness, courage, veracity, patience, sympathy and, in due course, the existence of God.

Quran even simplifies the natural yearning of humans for God by a simple statement – there is no god but Allah (47:19. Muhammad – Muhammad: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz). There is an ocean hidden in this simple statement. Hindsight is 20/20. At least the history tells us that all the chaos, wars, mayhems, cruelties, pogroms, genocides, burning of witches, slavery, economic bondage etc. were essentially, one and all, sacrifices on mass scales on the altars of false deities and idols of polytheism, hate, greed, selfish nature, prejudice, arrogance, ignorance, intolerance, bigotry, cronyism, haughtiness, racism, gender divide, class divide, dogmas, soulless ritualism, soulless homilies and so on. In simple terms this simple statement of – there is no god but Allah unfetters one’s mind in that one is not to take others as God and neither his own low desires as God. This stops false worship in its tracks. It is with this negative human experience in history and present, Quran states the obvious: Have you considered (over the plight of) one who has taken his own low desires for his deity? Can you then be a guardian over such a one? (Al-Furqan – The Standard of True and False: Nooruddin).

While simplifying religion, Quran sets the standards of mutual exegesis of Islam and human nature, else it terms any other interpretations violating this relationship as falsehood – So pay your whole-hearted attention to (the cause of) faith as one devoted (to pure faith), turning away from all that is false. (And follow) the Faith of Allâh (-Islam) to suit the requirements of which He has made the nature of mankind. There can be no change in the nature (of creation) which Allâh has made. That is the right and most perfect Faith, yet most people do not know (it) (30:30. Al-Rum – The Byzantines: Nooruddin). Quran thus throws the gauntlet at the skeptics. Approach nature and you will find Quran in it and vice versa too there will no incongruence of Quran with laws of nature, because both are one and same.

Quran makes its own case in that it is the only and comprehensive purse-string of a doctrine of peace. It does so by addressing all moral, social and economic issues facing each individual and collectively the society, be it an underdeveloped nation or the superpower of our times. They all have a lot to gain by paying attention to Quran for what Quran is and not what the Islam haters, and even the ignorant from within the ranks of Muslims, falsely make of it. Quran is cognizant of the false allegation against it when it states – And (some) among them are illiterate, who do not know the Scripture except cramming it up, and are doing nothing but making conjectures (2:78. Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Nooruddin). In another place it similarly states – There are some among them who twist their tongues while reciting their Scripture that you may think that (what they recite) is a part of the Scripture, whilst it is no part of the Scripture and they say, `This is from Allâh,' whereas it is not from Allâh. They tell a lie in the name of Allâh deliberately (3:78. Al-Imran – The House of Amran: Nooruddin).

For those, on either side of the divide, who want to make the current conflict into a conflict of Christianity versus Islam must bear in mind that they may pick a fight against Muslims, but they will never be able to deny Quran its merits. Quran not only brings peace between different religions but brings dignity to other faiths for when it clarifies the concept of God. Besides, validating the previous scriptures, Quran distinctly declares God Himself as the source of the Book; it is God as the “Lord of the Mankind” and not of a particular race, region or religion; Quran vivifies God by bringing to light His Attributes; removes the human-ness of god and instills the godliness of humans; God for the benefit of man and not the ritualistic vice versa; God as the first observer of His own laws; a God of action and not of slumber; a Hearing, Seeing and Speaking God.

Quran expounds its message with proofs based upon logic, reason, history, physical phenomenon, science and sociology, when it discusses monotheism, human nature, equality and fraternity of man, the sinless soul, and the physical and moral states of man. On the same principles it describes the purpose of the man and the universe he lives in. It declares nature as being subservient to man. It outlines virtues and sins, paths of salvation, emphasis on action rather than homilies, the state of life after death, and the concept of hell and heaven. Quran launders the previous prophets from all of the historical smears and offers this as a doable example of Quran. It brings morality, spirituality, physicality and science into a mutually complementary logic. Quran declares the divine guarding of its own everlasting purity, free from adulteration and contradiction and with an open challenge to any to bring even a chapter matching that of Quran. It identifies the divine origin of all monotheistic faiths and the completion of religion with Islam.

In summary according to Quran – Allâh invites (us all) to the abode of peace and He guides him who wishes to be guided to the exact right path leading to the goal (10:25. Yunus – Jonah: Nooruddin). This abode of peace, if taken in its true spirit, could find its way into both the Trump Tower and the White House and the houses of all its votaries.


Mosque in England signs “Armed Forces Covenant” with British Minister of Defence

Friday, December 16th, 2016

Please see this image of a recent news item from a UK local newspaper of last Wednesday, which begins:

"A Nottingham mosque has signed the Armed Forces Covenant, ushering in a wave of Muslim-owned businesses which are now committed to supporting members of the military."

Several Muslim-owned businesses in the area are mentioned as having signed this "pledge" to help current and former members of the British Armed Forces.

Incidentally, since the word "bai`at" is usually translated as "pledge", one may say that this mosque and the businesses mentioned have taken the bai`at at the hand of a British Minister of Defence.

I don't somehow think that we will hear opponents of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad applying the title "British agent" to these people!

Revised, second edition of ‘Islam, Peace and Tolerance’

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

I have produced a revised and slightly enlarged, second edition of Islam, Peace and Tolerance, which is available at this link.

You can read in the Preface what improvements have been made in this edition.

In this pdf file, the cross-references in it are linked to the place which is referenced.

So if you click on any heading or subheading in the list of contents, it takes you to the page where that heading or subheading occurs. In the Index if you click on any page number that is listed, it takes you to the exact point on the page which the Index is referring to. The same applies to the index of verses of the Quran given near the end of the book. There is also a link, both ways, between any 'end note' reference in the text of the book and the location of the note itself. These are all new features.

(If the linking within the book doesn't work for you when you open this file from this blog post, please try saving the file and then opening it directly in any pdf viewer.)

If you notice any error, please do let me know.

— Zahid Aziz

Lahore Ahmadi tends to Maulvi Barakatullah in San Francisco in last days of his life in 1927

Friday, November 18th, 2016

Maulvi Barakatullah (1854-1927) was an Indian Muslim revolutionary who campaigned for the independence of India from several countries outside India. Bhopal University in India was re-named after him as Barkatullah University. He spent the last few months of his life in the USA, died in San Francisco and was buried in Sacramento. See Wikipedia article on his life.

In the Lahore Ahmadiyya English magazine The Light a letter was published in the issue for 8 December 1927 in this connection written by a member of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement from San Francisco who looked after Maulvi Barakatullah in his dying days. I have made it available at this link.

The writer of the letter is Mirza Daud Baig. He was the older son of Dr Mirza Yaqub Baig, the well-known prominent follower of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, and a founding member of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Anjuman. Mirza Daud Baig returned to India a couple of years later, and spent most of the last years of his life in Turkey, having married a Turkish woman while still in India. (He was also my wife's maternal uncle, so we personally know some details of his life.)

British Judge’s analysis of teachings of Islam on jihad in court judgment

Monday, November 7th, 2016
A Muslim imam in London went to court recently with a libel action against the BBC, claiming damages for having been wrongly called an "extremist" on a TV programme. In court, the BBC defended calling him as such. In the end the Judge held that the BBC had succeeded in its defence, and that it was true to describe him as someone who espouses extremist Islamic positions.
 
In his judgment the Judge has discussed the teachings of Islam about jihad, which all Muslims should find very enlightening. For your convenience I have extracted those sections from his judgment (consisting of pages 22 to 30 of the judgment).
 
Here is the link to those sections.
 
The judge writes:
 
"… it is clear in my view, that the Qur’an permits only defensive jihad (al-jihad a-difa’i)." (Sec. 113)
 
"Terrorism in Islam (hiraba or irhab) was defined by the 11th Century Chief Judge of Muslim Lisbon, Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr, as follows:
 
“Anyone who disturbs the free passage in the streets and renders them unsafe to travel, striving to spread corruption in the land by killing people or violating what God has made it unlawful to violate, is guilty of terrorism [hiraba], be he a Muslim or a non-Muslim, free or slave, and whether he actually realises his goal of taking money and killing or not.”
 
Thus, the “9/11” and “7/7” bombers would have been guilty of terrorism (hiraba) under Islamic law." (Sec. 130-131)



 
Here is the link to the Press Summary of the case as released by the court.
 

British Parliamentary Committee Inquiry into “Sharia Councils” in the UK — Our submission

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

The Home Affairs Committee of the British Parliament recently announced an inquiry into the role and operation of "Sharia Councils" in the UK. They invited written submissions, and are also taking oral evidence.

The home page of the Inquiry is at this link.

Under "Written evidence" it lists the written submissions. To see the full list, you have to click on the "+ View all" link.

A submission was made by the Lahore Ahmadiyya UK Jamaat, written by me. It is reference SHL0010, dated 06 September 2016 in the above list. For your convenience, the following are direct links to its pdf and html formats:

(The content is, of course, the same in both formats.)

— Zahid Aziz

Senior Saudi scholars say ‘takfir’ (declaring a Muslim as kafir) cannot be done by humans, but only by Allah

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

Submitted by Rashid Jahangiri.

Geo channel news program ‘Aaj Shahzib Khanzada Ke Sath’ September 28, 2016.

Please click on following link and watch at 24 minutes and 45 seconds.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRS377AKPSE


Please see also the same report in the Saudi Arab English daily Arab News:

www.arabnews.com/node/990366/saudi-arabia

"Senior scholars say decision on takfir rests with Allah

ARAB NEWS | Published — Tuesday 27 September 2016

RIYADH: The Council of Senior Scholars has stressed the fact that takfir is a serious issue as it will legalize bloodshed, prevent inheritance and annul marriages.

Declaring rulers and governments out of the fold of Islam is even more harmful as it constitutes incitement to violence, use of weapons, encouraging chaos, bloodshed and corruption of people, the council said.

The council said Islam rejects extremism and terrorism, and that this deviant belief has no place in Islam.

The scholars said the decision on takfir does not rest with humans, but Allah and His messenger and that takfir needs clear evidence from the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah.

The Council of Senior Scholars strongly condemned the aggressive war waged by the criminal Syrian regime and its allies on the unarmed people of Syria in general and Aleppo in particular."


The statement in this report that "Declaring rulers and governments out of the fold of Islam is even more harmful as it constitutes incitement to violence,…" reveals the reason why they have condemned takfir. Some Muslims must have called Saudi rulers as kafir!

Newsreel film showing Chinese PM Chou En-Lai being introduced to Mr N.A. Faruqui

Sunday, August 21st, 2016

There is a silent newsreel film on Youtube covering the visit to Pakistan of Chinese PM Chou En-Lai, probably in 1964, in which he is welcomed by President Ayub Khan:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VSrV8Y3-c0

At 1.14 mins in the film he is seen being introduced by President Ayub Khan to Mr N.A. Faruqui. Mr Faruqui is also briefly seen a little later seated on a chair in a room.

At this link I have extracted three relevant screen shots from it.

Towards the end of the film, starting at 2.33 mins, Chou En-Lai visits the site where Islamabad was to be built and plants a tree there.

I believe the same tree planting photo is on Flickr at this link.

In this Flickr photo Mr Faruqui, wearing a dark-coloured cap, is standing next to Z.A. Bhutto as they watch the tree planting.

Pakistan government’s report to UN Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Saturday, August 13th, 2016

Readers may be interested in this link to the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner.

The page is headed: Pakistan to face review by UN Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which is to be on 16th and 17th August.

Through this page I found reports submitted to this committee by some countries' governments. I downloaded the report submitted by the Pakistan government, which I have saved here.

Here are a few choice quotations from it:

"19. Safeguarding the rights of minorities is the priority of the Government of Pakistan. Pakistan is a democratic country and pluralism is the central pillar of our society. Under Articles 20, 21, 22, 26, 27 and 28 of the Constitution of Pakistan, minorities are equal citizens of Pakistan and are free to profess their religion and visit their places of worship."

"20. … All citizens of Pakistan are, thus, equal before law. Citizens of religious minority groups in Pakistan enjoy equal rights as citizenry of the State. … The contributions of minorities in Pakistan have been substantive and they have excelled in most spheres of professions. For instance, the first ever Law Minister, Jogendra Nath Mandal was a Hindu; Justice A.R. Cornelius, a Christian, was the 4th Chief Justice of Pakistan; … …  Dr. Abdul Salam, an Ahmedi, was a Nobel Laureate of 1979."

"22.  The prevalence of Racial Discrimination is, thus, non-existent in Pakistan."

"23. As mentioned above, racism is a rare phenomenon in Pakistan and, therefore, has little or no impact on the lives of the peoples of Pakistan as such."

"25. …  Racial Discrimination does not exist in Pakistan as such, and despite that the State has taken effective measures to prevent incitement to or acts of discrimination based on theories of superiority of race, color or ethnic origin."

"32…  Evidently, there is no apartheid and racial segregation/ discrimination in Pakistan. "

"43. In accordance with existing legal framework, it is also a crime to promote enmity between religious groups"

"61. In a case filed through the Ministry of Law & Justice, i.e. Pakistan Hindi Council v. Pakistan, the Supreme Court held that every citizen had a fundamental right to profess, practice and propagate his religion. 

 … the Lahore High Court held that “under Article 20 of the Constitution, it was the right of every citizen to profess, practice or propagate his religion…"

"62. The Supreme Court … held that every citizen of Pakistan is free to exercise the right to profess, practice or propagate his or her religious views, even against the prevailing or dominant views of his or her own religious denomination or sect."

"63. The aforementioned judgment accords protection to members of all religions and criminalizes incitement of religious hatred."

"64. The minorities are free to preach their respective faith."

"65. The laws in Pakistan cater genuinely to all people belonging to various beliefs."

 "106. Pakistani society is one of the least racist societies due to adherence to the tenets of Islam which prohibit discrimination and promote equality and human dignity."

Does anyone recognize this picture of Pakistan?

(almost) Hundred year old copy of Maulana Muhammad Ali’s translation of the Quran found in belongings of Englishman, who may have been British soldier of First World War

Saturday, July 30th, 2016

Please see this link on website of the Surrey History Centre in UK. The page is actually about Muslim soldier Mahrup Shah, who died in September 1915 and whose grave is in Brookwood cemetery, near Woking. Some material relating to him was purchased at an auction by Mr Kevin Smith of Woking, a keen military enthusiast. Along with that material, but obviously not belonging to this Muslim soldier (since he died in 1915), was found a copy of the 1917, first edition of Maulana Muhammad Ali's English translation of the Quran, belonging to an Englishman whose name is inscribed in it (B.W. Addison).